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Mar 23 2014

Skating on snow

The winter of 2013-2014 was the first “real” winter in Southern Ontario for quite some time. I am always one who rolls with the punches, so there was no better time to take advantage of the excellent snow conditions. Three-metre high snow drifts on Dufferin County Route 124 anyone?

Except for the more challenging conditions (for a beginner) caused by an ice storm at the end of December, the trails were in top shape from mid-December until beginning of April!

Unlike most people, I choose cross-country skiing, because with respect to my alpine cousins, getting a motorized lift up the hill is just plain cheating! Also I could never get to any level of competency on alpine skis or snowboards…

This season, after not too much deliberation, so I finally decided to add of pair of skate skis to my quiver.

New  Madshus Ultransonic skate ski package!They are Madshus Ultrasonic Skate on Salomon SNS Pilot bindings, Salomon Active8 Skate Boots, and Swix CT-5 composite poles. A solid entry-level performance package.

Skate skiing is a different technique than traditional classic skiing. It is usually faster, so in any freestyle races, everyone would be skating.
It does not require tracksets, but a groomed surface is needed, the harder the surface the better.

It looks similar to ice skating and rollerblading, but with poles. The main challenge for me is to learn complete weight transfer from one leg to another, and balance and glide on one leg.

I read somewhere that one needs to ski at least a dozen times in order to not look like an absolute beginner. That was bang on.

The first half dozen times out, most of the effort was spent trying to stay balanced and glide on one ski.

After that, I was finally starting to get it a little, so I can actually focus more on trying to get faster, extending the glide, better polling, more dynamic push-offs. When I’m going faster, that is when it starts to get fun!

For next season, I am hoping to get some additional instructions to improve my climbing and overall technique. Specifically, the V1 and V1-Offset techniques. I still cannot get the timing right learning by myself via Youtube instructions.

Though are no good trails within the Toronto area itself, some of the best prepared trails are less than 2 hours drive away.

Highlands Nordic
My favourite go-to place. 40km of trackset and groomed skating trails, plenty of snow, and has an extensive youth program via their Highlands Trailblazers club

Hardwood Ski and Bike
Voted best cross-country ski and mountain bike facility in eastern Canada by Get Out There several times, and for good reasons. All trails trackset and groomed. Very good coaches and clinics

Scenic Caves
All trails trackset and groomed for skating as well. Loops are a bit short, but still have a few challenging climbs. Spectacular view from the lookout point!

Wasaga Nordic
Run by Ontario Parks within the Wasaga Beach Provincial Park jurisdiction. There are nice flat trails for learning, as well as challenging ones into the sand dunes. As with any Ontario Parks facility, admission and rental fees are very affordable

One Way Meadowlands loop at Hardwood Hills Larry's Glacier at Highlands Nordic Wasaga Nordic Lookout point at Scenic Caves

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  1. 120th Around the Bay Road Race – Race Report | HenryLo.ca

    […] section, I was still feeling really good. Perhaps I might have been de-sensitized by the hills at Highlands Nordic and Hardwood Hills over the winter, but this section felt easier this year. The usually strategy was to charge up the incline, pass a […]

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